Say a Little Prayer for Minority-Owned Businesses

RetailIt starts with an idea and then morphs into a reality?backed of course, with a wad of cash and access to an endless stream of the green. Thousands of minority and women business enterprises (M/WBE’s) across the state and the country embrace this notion when they start a business. The creation of small businesses continues to be a mandate of President Barack Obama.

As with most things, the key to starting any business enterprise?small, medium or large is money: where to get it, how to get it and what to do with it when you get it.

According to the Center for Venture Research—at the Peter T Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, angel investors (people or corporations that financially back a business) invested about $24.1 billion in more than 73,000 small businesses in 2014. Many of the investors were in start-up or preliminary companies and about one third of those small to mid-size enterprises were African American or Hispanic-owned. In the U.S., there are more than 7 million accredited angel investors or individuals who earn $200,000 or more each year or whose net worth exceeds $1 million. According to statistics from the Federal Reserve 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, there are more than 400,000 African Americans worth more than $1 million dollars and about 12,000,000 African Americans with a net worth between $50,000 and $1 million.?

Business experts recommend that people of color invest in businesses owned by people of color as a way of reinvesting back into Black communities.

In June, Morehouse College?a historically black college and university (HBCU) in Atlanta – announced plans to establish a certification program designed to help individuals navigate the maze of angel investing and business start ups. Per officials at the university, it will be one of the first of its kind of certificate programs offered at an HBCU to award a certificate in investing. ?Angel investing is the pioneering final frontier for black Americans and people of color in business and corporate America to embrace and engage,? said Rodney Sampson, founder and CEO of Opportunity Hub, an Atlanta based think tank for entrepreneurs. ?It is our responsibility to pay it forward by investing in the next generation of innovative, high-growth start-ups,? he said.

Lastly, while investing in any start-up business is risky, the rewards and benefits of investing your cash into a business can be beneficial.?
?If it weren’t for angel investors, I don’t know if I would have been able to start my business and have taken it to the top,? said Harold Mills, president and CEO of ZeroChaos, an Orlando, FL based workforce management and staffing company. When Mills joined to company in 2001 as a senior manager, the company was in a holding pattern. In just one year after his appointment, revenues jumped from $700,000 to $48 million. By the end of 2004, ZeroChaos was on its own and Mills and 16 other investors?many of whom were minorities?pooled their resources and ZeroChaos became a minority-owned enterprise?consistently ranking at or near the top of the list of one of the top 100 African American owned companies.? ?I’m committed to supporting and sharing some of my success with other small and minority-owned businesses?as a vendor supplier, or investor,? he concluded.

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